What does a good winter car need?


Most EV drivers know that winter weather can really knock down your range. Recurrent studied the effects of cold weather on electric vehicle range using data from 7,000 EVs. We found that in freezing conditions, EVs could lose up to 35% of their advertised range. Before heading into the mountains, you’ll have to account for the effects of icy weather on your EV. We recommend budgeting in a significant range buffer.

It’s crucial to remember to precondition your car before heading out for the day. Preconditioning allows you to heat your vehicle cabin and battery while it is plugged into the charger, before you leave for your trip. That way you can head out with full charge in an already warm car. Heating a cold car takes a lot more energy than keeping a warm one toasty, so preconditioning helps maintain efficiency while driving. Plus, no more shivering behind the steering wheel! You can also review the HVAC system on your EV. If you have a resistance heater or are driving in conditions below 20°F, consider putting on another layer before turning up the heat. Better to wear a jacket in the car than run low on battery power, especially if you’re unsure of the next charging opportunity.

Charging Network

Speaking of charging, if you’re traveling in an EV, no matter the weather, it’s important to plan a route with charging stations along the way - and back-up routes just in case! More charging stations and Alternate Fuel Corridors are popping up around the country, but, until public charging is truly ubiquitous, EV drivers have to prepare for low batteries and charging breaks. This is especially important on a ski trip when you’re driving in mountainous regions that may be lacking phone service or far from populated towns. Even gas car drivers need to plan out fuel stops in the wilderness! When your range is already shortened due to cold weather, a robust charging network to support your journey is invaluable.

Charging Speed

When you need to recharge on the road, being able to charge quickly saves you both time and hassle. Driving and charging an electric vehicle in colder weather is tricky because temperatures below 40°F can reduce charging power, particularly while the battery is still cold. You’ll want to plan your charge times so you’re not waiting too long (in the cold!) to get back on the road. In-app preconditioning is a must-have for these situations, so you can tell your car to warm up the battery prior to charging.

Interior Space

Skis, boots, snow pants, helmets – if you’re hauling gear for a winter excursion, you’ll need plenty of cargo space. A good winter car should have enough storage to pack in all your gear and a roomy enough cabin that your passengers won’t feel crammed together.

Our Picks for 2024

Hyundai Kona Electric

Winner 🎉 Best EV for Winter Range

The Kona Electric is rated at 258 miles by the EPA, but according to Recurrent’s data used Konas have a standard range of 214 to 386 miles. The Kona is one of the few vehicles that consistently exceeds EPA estimates, under many conditions. Drivers rave about its performance in winter. It has plenty of range even in the cold and the FWD motor can handle snow and ice. Its compact dimensions make for an easy drive around town, and it is surprisingly roomy thanks to its high-riding and boxy-body style. It delivers 25.5 cubic feet of cargo space, 63.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Sadly, the Kona’s DC Fast charging maxes out at 70kW and some drivers complain that charging rarely reaches maximum speed.

Cadillac Lyriq


The Cadillac Lyriq boasts an EPA rating of 314 miles. The Lyriq is well suited to long road trips with few charging stops. Plus, it comes with all the prestige and luxury one would expect from a Cadillac. It uses GM’s Ultium EV platform, which means bidirectional charging will be available in newer models. The heat pump helps keep things warm in winter and the Lyriq handles smoothly even on rough terrain. Fully integrated Google apps allow for voice commands and fullscreen navigation, while a 19 speaker sound system guarantees a quality soundtrack for your long drives.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Winner 🎉 Best Charging Network

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a great electric SUV. It has enough space for stowing luggage and even bulkier items like a bike. Depending on year and trim, the EPA rates its range between 240 and 314 miles. However, expect it to lose around 30% of that range when the temperatures fall to freezing. Drivers report it handles well in snow, though you’ll want to make sure you get AWD if you plan on driving frequently in winter weather. One big advantage of the Mach-E is access to Ford’s BlueOval Charge Network, which purports to be the largest public charging network in North America. BlueOval gives drivers 250kWh of free charging from Electrify America and, as of last month, access to Tesla’s Supercharger stations, complete with free (for now) adaptors. With BlueOval’s over 111,000 chargers, you’ll be able to power up just about anywhere.

Rivian R1S


The Rivian R1S has an EPA estimated range between 316 to 321 miles and all the space you could want for your gear. Rivian is expanding fast to stretch its network of chargers across the U.S. The Rivian Adventure Network is a comprehensive network of fast-charging sites — initially capable of adding up to 140 miles of range in 20 minutes to the R1S. The Rivian Adventure Network is planned to grow to more than 3,500 fast chargers at over 600 sites across the US and Canada, and will only be available exclusively to Rivian owners. Rivian is also installing over 10,000 Level 2 chargers across the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, starting in 2024, Rivian drivers will gain access to Tesla’s Supercharger stations.

Kia EV6

Winner 🎉 Best EV for Rapid Charging

The Kia EV6 has decent range, between 206 - 310 miles per the EPA. It’s stylish, reasonably spacious, and drives well, but where the EV6 really shines is its rapid charging speed. The car uses an advanced (and expensive) 800-volt architecture that charges twice as fast as its competitors. The Kia EV6 boasts the ability to charge from 10 to 80 percent in just 18 minutes. It’s astonishingly fast compared to the times of similar rides, like the Mach-E (around 45 minutes) or the VW ID.4 (35 mins).

Audi Q4 e-tron


With a max speed of 175kW, the Audi Q4 e-tron can charge from 10 - 80 percent in 28 minutes. The EPA range estimate is 258 miles, which isn’t bad, so you might not need to recharge all that often. Plus, new models come with 250kWh of complementary charging from Electrify America. The Q4 e-tron has a decent amount of cargo space, too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a heat pump. The model does have that Audi allure, though, so trust you can drive through the mountains in style.


Winner 🎉 Best EV for Hauling Gear

In winter driving tests, the BMW iX returned an impressive 304 miles at 55 mph and 227 miles at 75 mph. BMW achieved this high range through an increase in battery capacity and efficiency improvements. Its cargo capacity is likewise impressive, starting at 35.5 cubic feet with the seats up and a whopping 77.9 cubic feet with the seats down. The iX can hold all your winter gear, safely and discreetly packed within the chic luxury of BMW.



Stock image of a white Volkswagen ID4

At a more accessible price point, the Volkswagen ID4 has plenty of storage space, 30.3 cubic feet with the seats up and 64.2 cubic feet with the seats down. It has an EPA rated range between 208 and 275 miles. It’s equipped with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel to keep you warm. Even though it is not fitted with a heat pump, the heater is part of the Climatronic automatic climate control system, which is designed to get to temperature even faster than the traditional heaters in gas-powered vehicles. Note that the ID.4 did see notable range loss of around 30% in our winter range testing, so it might be best for shorter drives.

Tesla Model Y

Winner 🎉 Best Overall EV for Winter Driving

Stock image of a white Model Y next to a bank of superchargers
Model Y next to a bank of Tesla Superchargers

Once again, Tesla dominates the EV market. The Tesla Model Y has an EPA range of 244 - 326 miles, but Recurrent’s data from used models gives a real world range of 207 - 363 miles, exceeding the EPA’s estimate. It was the first Tesla to come standard with the advanced “octovalve” HVAC system, cutting down on range loss from heater use. If you need to recharge, you can do it fast. The Model Y can add 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes with DC Fast charging. Even better, the car comes with access to the robust Tesla Supercharger network. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Tesla has over 1,600 Supercharger stations in the U.S., with over 17,000 fast-charging ports, far more than any other brand. The Model Y has range, charging speed, and a fantastic charging network. Factor in the crossover body style, and you’ve got Recurrent’s 2024 winter road trip pick.

PS – check out these ten EV-friendly ski resorts for an ultra-convenient experience, and read our road-trip recommendations to make a longer journey pleasant and stress-free.So what should you consider?